Arts Center / GalleryFilmLocal Attraction
Tell Me What I Can Do
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Tania El Khoury’s Gardens Speak asks audience members to share experiences of the piece. Twenty-eight showings of Gardens Speak across five continents produced a large number of audience letters. These handwritten messages, artifacts of each performance, provide insight into the varied audience experiences of Gardens Speak, including their reflections on politics, empathy, loss, and death. The letters were first conceptualized as a message of solidarity that would be written by audiences around the world and sent back to the families and friends of the deceased whose stories they shared. As the pile of letters kept growing, El Khoury realized that the contents of letters were overwhelmingly complex, messy, and intimate. They could not be reduced to a simple message of solidarity. “Tell me what I can do” is a sentence written in a number of letters in which audience members seek advice after hearing the martyrs’ stories. In this newly commissioned work for ear-whispered.